And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marvelled at him.
Comment: The leaders had failed to trip Jesus to fall into a charge of blasphemy, now they try to get Him on a charge of rebellion. Having ‘buttered’ Him up with fancy words they try to get Him to say something about the perennial problematic issue of taxation. They argued that if they could get Him to answer as below, they had Him in a trap. They wanted to hear Him say that as a member of the people of God they should not be taxed by Rome (treasonous, and to be reported to the Roman authorities) or that they should pay the taxes requested of them (treasonous as they hated as Jews being subject to anyone apart from God.) You can almost see them rubbing their hands together in glee – ‘we’ve got Him this time!’ Well they didn’t have Him at all as He taught us all our responsibility to live under God in this world with its governments.
Prayer: Help me to fill in my tax papers honestly, O God.